The plan to set up the East African Media Council is expected to feature in the discussions at next week’s regional media summit in Kampala.
Scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the forthcoming East African Community Heads of State Summit, the media conference is expected to draw at least 150 media owners, chief executives of media houses, publishers, editors and journalists from partner states.
Organised under the theme, “Taking EAC Agenda to the People: Enhancing Media Knowledge and Participation,” the meeting is organised by the East African Community and East African Business Council (EABC).
“The conference will discuss, among others, how best the EAC media tell the East African story, the way forward on the establishment of East African Media Advocacy Body, establishment of East African Media Council as the regional regulatory body and how can EAC partner with the Media to bring regional integration agenda to the people,” a statement from the organisers says.
According to Robert Kabushenga, the Vision Group chief executive, who is among the people spearheading the initiative, during the summit, the idea will be tabled and some people tasked to draft all the modalities for the setting up of the Council.
Talking to The New Times, yesterday, Kabushenga said it was important for journalists to be involved in the regional integration process.
“For us [the media] to have our contribution to the integration process, we must have such bodies,” he said.
A delegation of 75 Kenyan businesses is in the country to assess the business environment with a view to scaling up investments.
Heads of companies from construction, agribusiness, manufacturing, real estates, education services, energy sector and export industry, among others, are currently exploring viability of their business in the country.
Samuel Kirubi, the managing director of Equity Bank and head of the delegation, said the investors have not only been attracted by the conducive business environment in the country, but also the need to take full advantage of the recently signed Tripartite agreement between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
“Rwanda has become a popular destination for investment on the continent. This is a great opportunity for Kenyans,” Kirubi said.
John Mwangemi, the Kenyan ambassador to Rwanda, said his compatriots were making the right choice by choosing to invest in Rwanda.
“The choice you are making is timely. There is no doubt that two countries have a lot to offer each other, especially in bilateral trade,” he said.
Mwangemi added that Kenya must learn from Rwanda’s experience, especially in business reforms and investor-protection.
Rwandans within the country and those from the Diaspora will converge in Kigali for the Annual National Dialogue scheduled to take place from 6th to 7th December 2013. Members of the Rwandan Diaspora in Kenya are encouraged to participate in this unique and important event that will be tackling a wide range of issues in regards to National Development.
Registration of Participants is going on at the Rwanda High Commission.
The agreement, tabled before parliament for ratification, will see a 10 per cent withholding tax on dividends, royalty and interest and 12 per cent for management fees introduced for investors between the two countries.
East African companies operating in Rwanda and Mauritius will no longer be subjected to double taxation after the two countries negotiated a new agreement.
The agreement, tabled before parliament for ratification last week, will see a 10 per cent withholding tax on dividends, royalty and interest and 12 per cent for management fees introduced for investors between the two countries.
This follows suspension of the previous agreement signed in 2001, after Rwanda expressed concern that Mauritius was benefiting disproportionately from it. Specifically, in the previous agreement, all the taxation rights belonged to Mauritius.
Analysts point to the tax regime in Mauritius, which is considered too generous. As a result, most investors would opt to register their companies in Mauritius while doing business in Rwanda and repatriating all their profits without paying taxes.
“It is meant to discourage treaty shopping; with an agreement like the one we had before, where Mauritius had all the rights of taxation, people would go and register there because it is a low tax economy — sometimes businesses pay no taxes at all. Then they would invest here, and repatriate all their income and profits without paying taxes here,” said Ben Kagarama, Commissioner General of the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).
L-R: RDB CEO Amb. Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza, minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana (Youth and ICT), minister Kalibata, CAT director Michael Hailu, and Michael Ryan, the head of the European Union delegation to Rwanda during the Summi
Funds will also be channeled to infrastructural developments such as upgrading of rural feeder roads, ICT infrastructural projects and commercialised agricultural inputs.
Michael Ryan, head of the European Union Delegation to Rwanda, said that EU will step up its support for Rwanda’s strategy for sustainable economic growth through the European Development Fund.
“The European Union has for a long time been a great partner and a friend to Rwanda, we have invested a lot and will continue to invest a lot in the country on its journey towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” Ryan said at the ICT for Agriculture Summit in Kigali yesterday.
He said investing in ICT for agriculture is not only an opportunity for policy makers to have a direct link with rural famers but also an opportunity for rural famers to have direct links to markets and commodity prices for sustainable agriculture.
The EU’s agenda for change initiative prioritises agriculture and food security in EU development financing. The bloc has identified sustainable agriculture and agribusiness as key sectors to be funded in many African countries.
Around 1 billion Euros per annum was invested in agriculture during the period 2008 to 2013.
Africa will continue to benefit from considerable EU support for the period 2014 to 2020, the envoy said.
The construction industry has benefited from the improvements in doing business
The 2014 Doing Business Report – an annual survey of the ease of doing business around the world says that Rwanda is the most improved economy in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2005.
In the report, Rwanda is praised for the impressive strides in having well-designed institutions, and the ability to coordinate efforts to improve the business climate.
In the 2014 report, Rwanda once again performed well in making it easy to do business and has been ranked in position 32 out of 189 countries in the latest World Bank data.
The country moved up 22 places from its former position at 54 in the previous assessment on Doing Business 2013.
The 2014 ease of doing business report indicates that Kenya came in 129, Burundi in 140, and Tanzania 145, while Mauritius came in 20 and DR Congo 183rd position.
Rwanda’s improved performance was seen in the areas of dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying and resolving insolvency.
However, there was a slight one point position decline in starting a business, getting electricity and trading across borders declined by two positions.
The biggest increment in position was seen in the area of property registration-from position 62 to position 8, and dealing with construction permits- from position 122 to 85th. There was no significant change in area of enforcing contracts and Rwanda maintained its earlier position at 40.
Countries in the EAC region didn’t make any much adjustment from their previous performance in 2013 in the economy indicators- distance of each economy to the “frontier”- across all economies and across time.
Rwanda made an improvement from 64 in 2013 to 70 in 2014, Uganda and Tanzania remained in same positions with just marginal improvements (56 and 54 respectively); while Kenya made one step up the ladder from 59 to 58th. Burundi made a significant improvement from 47.5 to 50.6.
Children browse the Internet at the summit in Kigali on Tuesday.
Officials from the United Nations, Facebook and Microsoft have pledged to support science-based education in Africa and Rwanda in particular.
Matt Perault, Facebook’s head of global policy development, said the social networking media is currently looking at ways of reducing the cost of accessing data on the African continent.
He said the company welcomes the idea of supporting innovative projects, especially in data efficiency and data application right at the student level.
“We would like the public on this continent to understand that they can use information to drive the outcome on the African continent and more specifically in Rwanda,” Perault said.
“Giving the young generation robust kinds of activities that will keep them connect in the areas of knowledge will strengthen growth in this country.”
Robert Kayihura, the Microsoft legal and corporate affairs director, also affirmed the company’s commitment to support over 200,000 youth within the circles of ICTs, including fresh graduates in other science disciplines in a bid to develop African talents in areas of technology and innovation.
“We hope to partner with government and other stakeholders in building the youth capacity in science and technology through supporting science subjects,” Kayihura said.
He said Microsoft has so far established about 10,000 partners on the African continent and looks forward to scaling up this partnership.
“We are looking at scaling up our support on the African continent through our partners through our African strategy which we launched seven months ago,” he said.
Microsoft has more than 600,000 partners across the world.
The US global IT firm announced in April that Rwanda was among few countries in Africa which were selected as the beneficiaries of “Microsoft 4Afrika initiative” which seek to put one million African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) online.
The initiative is worth $75 million (about Rwf47 billion).
Microsoft intends to help 75 per cent of fresh graduates in the select African nations get job placements.
The government is considering five key areas where to partner with the Microsoft initiative, including services such as e-government, e-health, e-agriculture, e-education and the growth of SMEs using the power of information and telecommunication technology.
Tapping the fabrics
Rodrigo Arboleda, the chair and chief executive of One-Laptop-Per-Child project, tasked the companies to create an more impact by extending the service to rural Africa to grow the continent’s ability to innovate.
The move, considered the only plausible way to develop Africa’s innovative talent, will create millions of jobs across the continent, according to Lamin Manneh, the United Nations resident coordinator.
Manneh, who was addressing the transform Africa Summit 2013 in Kigali, yesterday, said the UN is committed to supporting innovative curriculum intended to equip the youth with the required market skills.
“We are already working with government entities such as Rwanda Development Board where we have supported the establishment of electronic investment web site for investors to access information about investments in country,” he said.
Manneh said the UN is also ready to continue supporting Rwanda, especially in the areas of capacity building and science education.
“This is where we believe opportunities for Rwanda’s future generation lie,” he said.